Class of: 2013
Shawn Reagor is the Director of Equality and Economic Justice at the Montana Human Rights Network. He and his spouse, Kasandra, live in Helena
"In the summer of 2008, I was lucky enough to attend a high school summer camp that was staffed by a number of Carroll College students. Before I went to camp, I had a good idea of what I thought the trajectory of my life would be. I would attend a public Montana university for chemical engineering. However, when I was picked up from camp, the first thing I said was, “I decided I am going to Carroll, no matter what.” I can’t point to a single experience or moment that made me change my mind and make me so determined to be a Carroll student, but I believe it was the passion of the Carroll students that had such a strong impact on me.
After just a few weeks into my freshman year, I recognized that passion in the students, and even more so in the staff. Professors loved their subject materials and took great care in sharing not just the possibilities of what can happen in a lab, but how and why the work they do impacts life outside of the lab. Furthermore, Carroll staff took a personal stake in their students’ education and also in their well-being.
truly, they live up to the motto “Not for School, But for Life.” These things strike me most about Carroll College: the passion and investment of cultivating and sharing knowledge and the commitment to values that are bigger than academic knowledge.
The first lecture I attended was a general chemistry class where we were told any builder can make a bridge and any doctor can write a prescription, but an engineer and a healer know when and why to do such things. Any writer or politician can take a controversial stance, but it takes wisdom to understand the implications of that stance and when and why to take it.
After graduation, the passion and commitment I learned at Carroll took me in a very different direction than my Chemistry degree. I entered the world of human rights and advocacy work. I started my academic experience at Carroll complaining about the required humanities and liberal arts classes, yet I have spent my career and my life depending on them.
I started volunteering on LGBTQ rights (very nervously I might add) when I was a student at Carroll. I had lost a seasonal job after my employer discovered that I am a member of the LGBTQ community. It was the Carroll community that helped me find a different job on campus and helped me mourn the reality of discrimination and inequity in this world.
Several years later, I committed to human rights work and advocacy after an 18-year-old attending a support group I ran died by suicide. They believed there was no place for them in this world because they were transgender. It reaffirmed how incredibly lucky I was to have the amount of support and love I had from the Carroll community while I was a student. Since then, I have committed myself to making sure all people regardless of gender identity, race, disability status, religion, veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other reason are able to be who they are and share the things they are passionate about with this world."